The National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd. (NAFED) move to buy all three grades of apple at higher price may provide a lifeline to apple growers in Kashmir.
Srinagar district magistrate Shahid Choudhary in a tweet on Wednesday said, “Exciting news for apple growers. The NAFED is set to buy in all three grades at an impressive price. Every single fruit will bring in greater value, enhanced income at no transportation hassles."
Apple cultivation is the mainstay of Kashmir’s economy and it has been hit due to the clampdown post abrogation of the state's special status guaranteed under Article 370 of the Constitution.
With Himachal Pradesh and Kashmir accounting for three-quarters of India’s apple crop, the proposed J&K’s first investor summit to be held is also expected to focus on apple cultivation.
The announcement comes in the backdrop of a litmus test for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration as it begins to restore normalcy in the region against the backdrop of unrest in the valley. Nafed is the central agency assigned to procure directly from farmers and is expected to play a pivotal role in helping double farmers’ income by 2022.
The move is aimed at helping farmers, and comes in the backdrop of New Delhi imposing long-pending retaliatory tariffs on 29 US products. Key items imported by India from the US include almond and fresh apples worth $645 million and $165 million, respectively.